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Updated: 1 hour 59 min ago

State Bar Board of Directors approves candidates for president-elect

Fri, 09/20/2019 - 14:24

The State Bar of Texas Board of Directors voted unanimously September 20 to approve Pablo Almaguer of Edinburg and Sylvia Borunda Firth of El Paso as candidates for 2020-2021 president-elect.

Almaguer and Borunda Firth will appear on the ballot in April 2020 along with any certified petition candidates. There are currently no additional president-elect candidates, although members have until March 1 to submit their nominating petitions to the State Bar for certification.

Almaguer has worked at Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Inc. (TRLA) since earning his J.D. from Chicago-Kent College of Law in 1997. He held a number of positions at TRLA before being named director of private bar and government relations in 2018.

Almaguer served on the State Bar of Texas Commission for Lawyer Discipline from 2012 to 2018, including as chair (2017-2018) and vice chair (2015-2017). He served on the State Bar of Texas Board of Directors from 2008 to 2011 and as board chair (2010-2011) and has been appointed to numerous State Bar committees and task forces over the years. He currently serves as a board trustee for the Texas Center for Legal Ethics.

Almaguer served on the Texas Civil Rights Project Board of Directors from 2001 to 2017 including as president from 2009 to 2017. He has been an active member of the Hidalgo County Bar Association and the Hidalgo County Bar Foundation, serving as a director from 2002 to 2009 and as president of the board (2007-2008).

Borunda Firth is a solo practitioner in El Paso. Prior to establishing her own firm, she was an associate in two local firms, general counsel for American Garment Finishers, Inc., and served the City of El Paso for 20 years. During her time with the city she was an assistant city attorney, director of intergovernmental affairs, chief of staff to the mayor, and ultimately the city attorney.

Borunda Firth was on the State Bar board from 2014 to 2018. She is currently vice chair of the State Bar of Texas Local Bar Services Committee and serves on the Government Law Council. She is the president of the Texas City Attorneys Association and on the El Paso Bar Association Board of Directors.

In 2017 she received the President’s Award for exemplary service to the bar. She is a Life Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation and served on the foundation’s Board of Trustees. Borunda Firth earned her J.D. from the University of Texas in 1984.

Almaguer and Borunda Firth were recommended to the board by the Nominations and Elections Subcommittee, which this year interviewed six potential nominees from any county in the state, according to State Bar election rules.

State Bar, Lone Star Legal Aid promote disaster legal hotline for those affected by Tropical Storm Imelda

Thu, 09/19/2019 - 15:37

The State Bar of Texas and Lone Star Legal Aid seek to alert residents that free legal resources are available to low-income individuals affected by severe storms and flooding spawned by Tropical Storm Imelda.

Lone Star Legal Aid operates a toll-free disaster legal hotline — 866-659-0666— that can help with issues such as replacing lost documents, answering insurance questions, helping with landlord-tenant problems, and addressing scam or consumer protection concerns. People who qualify for assistance will be matched with lawyers who can provide free, limited legal help.

Individuals who qualify also may use texaslegalanswers.org — an online Q&A-style service where individuals can pose specific questions related to civil legal issues and have them answered online by volunteer attorneys. Texas Legal Answers is operated by the State Bar of Texas in conjunction with the American Bar Association.

Additional disaster recovery resources are available at texasbar.com/disastertexaslawhelp.org, and lonestarlegal.blog/services/disaster-relief.

The State Bar reminds the public that in many cases it is a crime in Texas for a lawyer or someone representing a lawyer to contact a person for purposes of legal representation if the person has not first requested the call or personal visit. The contact is not illegal if the attorney is not seeking payment or has a preexisting professional-client or family relationship with the person being contacted.

If you witness something you believe to be improper solicitation, or barratry, please get the name and phone number of the person making contact and report it to your local law enforcement authority or the State Bar Chief Disciplinary Counsel’s Office toll free at 866-224-5999.

Michael Hofrichter named executive director of Houston Volunteer Lawyers

Wed, 09/18/2019 - 14:00

The Houston Bar Association, or HBA, and the Houston Volunteer Lawyers, or HVL, have named Michael Hofrichter as executive director of HVL.

Hofrichter previously served as HVL’s operations and compliance director, interim executive director, and interim low income tax clinic director. He joined HVL in 2010 upon graduating from the University of Houston Law Center. Hofrichter has worked with volunteers, supported legal clinics, and presented CLE programs and has has been instrumental in the development of HVL’s technology-based projects including online volunteer opportunities, disaster response, and document assembly.

“In my career at Houston Volunteer Lawyers, I’ve focused on helping those in need—the clients with legal issues and the volunteers seeking pro bono opportunities,” Hofrichter said in a press release. “In this new role, I look forward to working with all the volunteers and staff of Houston Volunteer Lawyers to continue making an impact in our community and improving the lives of our neighbors and clients.”

Hofrichter serves on the executive committee of the Houston Immigration Legal Services Collaborative, as a member of the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Disaster Response and Preparedness, the Statewide Disaster Pro Bono Technology Committee, and the HBA’s Elder Law Committee and County Law Library Committee.

For more information on HBA, go to hba.org, and for more information on HVL, go to makejusticehappen.org.

David Insley awarded first Randall Chapman Fellowship

Mon, 09/16/2019 - 13:00

The Texas Access to Justice Foundation, or TEAJF, and Texas Legal Services Center, or TLSC, announced David Insley as the first recipient of the Randall Chapman Fellowship.

Insley is a recent graduate of St. Mary’s University School of Law. During the two-year fellowship, he will focus on serving economically disadvantaged families struggling to navigate the justice system—a passion he developed while working at the Texas Office of the Attorney General Child Support Division’s Access and Visitation Hotline.

“David has a fire of imagination, depth of thought, and a true passion for justice,” said Karen Miller, TLSC executive director, in a press release.

The fellowship was created at the end of Chapman’s 32-year tenure as TLSC executive director.

For more information about TEAJF, go to teajf.org, and for more information on TLSC, go to tlsc.org.

Attorneys read at 103 schools for Constitution Day

Mon, 09/16/2019 - 09:58

About 100 volunteers from the Houston Bar Association will read to classes in 103 Houston-area elementary schools on Tuesday, September 17, in commemoration of Constitution Day.

A nationally recognized holiday, Constitution Day celebrates the signing of the U.S. Constitution on September 17, 1787. Every year, the HBA provides reading programs and activities to Harris County schools.

This year, volunteers—attorneys and judges—will read and discuss What Do You Do with a Voice Like That? to fourth and fifth grade students. The book, written by Chris Barton, follows the life of Barbara Jordan, the Texas and U.S congresswoman who used her voice and intellect to speak up for justice and equality. Jordan grew up in the same 5th Ward neighborhood where some of the schools participating in the readings are located.

Readings will be held at schools in the Aldine, Alief, Alvin, Channelview, Conroe, Cy-Fair, Deer Park, Fort Bend, Galena Park, Houston, Humble, Katy, Klein, Lamar Consolidated, Pasadena, Sheldon, Spring Branch, Spring, and Tomball school districts, as well as some private schools.

For more information, contact Tara Shockley at taras@hba.org; Bonnie Simmons at bonnies@hba.org or 713-759-1133; or go to hba.org.

State Bar board to meet Sept. 20 in Corpus Christi

Mon, 09/16/2019 - 08:52

The State Bar of Texas Board of Directors will hold its quarterly meeting September 20 in Corpus Christi.

The meeting begins at 9 a.m. at the Holiday Inn Downtown Marina (Texas Riviera Ballroom), 797 N. Shoreline Blvd.

Members of the public are welcome to attend.

The agenda includes a vote on the Nominations and Elections Subcommittee’s nomination of Pablo Almaguer of Edinburg and Sylvia Borunda Firth of El Paso as candidates for 2020-2021 State Bar of Texas president-elect.

Click here to view the meeting agendas and materials.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch attends Texas Supreme Court justice’s investiture ceremony

Fri, 09/13/2019 - 12:50

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch administered the ceremonial oath of office to Brett Busby September 6 at the Texas House chamber. Selected to the Texas Supreme Court by Gov. Greg Abbott, Busby was previously a U.S. Supreme Court clerk, in private practice, and a judge on the 14th Court of Appeals in Houston from 2012 to 2018. Busby, who has been serving on the court since March 20 when his nomination was confirmed by unanimous vote by the Senate and he was sworn in later that day, filled a spot left vacant after Justice Phil Johnson retired in December 2018.

Above: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch swore in Brett Busby to the Texas Supreme Court on September 6.

Above: The Texas Supreme Court also thanked former Justice Phil Johnson for his 13 years on the bench.

AWA Foundation seeks nominations for Premier Women in the Law and Rising Star awards

Fri, 09/13/2019 - 09:00

The Association of Women Attorneys, or AWA, Foundation in Houston is seeking nominations for its Premier Woman in the Law and Rising Star awards for 2020.

The Premier Woman in the Law award and Rising Star award are presented to women attorneys who have contributed to Houston’s legal community through their professional achievement and community involvement and by actively seeking to advance other women in the law.

Reward requirements for nominees are:

• Must practice in Houston or have strong professional links to the Houston legal community;
• Should demonstrate outstanding professional achievement and success in their practice area through a record of advocacy on behalf of clients, causes, and/or organizations; and
• Should demonstrate a commitment to promoting women in the legal profession, including creating opportunities to advance women lawyers; actively hiring, seeking to retain, promote, and mentor women attorneys; and/or involvement in professional or community activities that promote women in the legal profession.

Rising Star nominees must be within the first 10 years of practice to be eligible.

Nominations are being accepted through 5 p.m. CST on September 27, 2019.

For more information on nominations, go to the nomination page.

Award recipients will be honored at the AWA Foundation annual luncheon on March 26, 2020.

For more information on the AWA Foundation, go to awahouston.org.

Jane Bland sworn in to the Texas Supreme Court

Thu, 09/12/2019 - 15:17

The Texas Supreme Court welcomed Jane Bland to the bench in a ceremony September 11 at its chambers in Austin. Administering the oath was Gov. Greg Abbott, who appointed Bland to the bench, describing her previous work in the judiciary as “extraordinary.” Her experience includes 15 years as a judge on the 1st Court of Appeals in Houston, as well as once delivering a tiebreaking majority opinion for the Texas Supreme Court after a justice was recused in a case. Bland takes over the seat left vacant by Jeff Brown, who after six years on the court, took the oath of office as a judge on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas.

Above: Jane Bland was sworn in as a justice of the Texas Supreme Court by Gov. Greg Abbott at a ceremony on September 11.

Photo by Eric Quitugua

Legislative aides to receive James Madison Award for strengthening Texas Public Information Act

Wed, 09/11/2019 - 08:37

Kelsey Erickson, general counsel to Sen. Kirk Watson, and Katy Aldredge, capitol director for Rep. Giovanni Capriglione, are this year’s recipients of the James Madison Award presented by the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas.

Erickson and Aldredge were chosen for their efforts to create and pass legislation that makes important repairs to Texas’ open records law, according to a news release from the foundation. The legislation ensured that Texans will have access to key information contained in government contracts with private entities.

The James Madison Award recognizes those who demonstrate outstanding commitment to the principles of the First Amendment and open government.

The foundation will also honor Rep. Joe Moody of El Paso with the Open Government Lawmaker of the Year Award. Moody, the speaker pro tempore of the Texas House of Representatives, advocated to strengthen the Texas Public Information Act and was a key player in aiding the passage of legislation to protect Texans’ free speech rights.

The awards will be presented Sept. 20 during the John Henry Faulk Awards Luncheon amid the foundation’s Bernard and Audre Rapoport State Conference in Austin.

The State Bar of Texas 2019 Texas Gavel Awards will be presented at that same event. The Texas Gavel Awards honor journalism that deepens public understanding of the legal system.

 

 

 

 

 

Sponsored Content: Law Firm Cash Flow

Tue, 09/10/2019 - 23:01

By: Claude Ducloux
Board Certified, Civil Trial Law and Civil Appellate Law, Texas Board of Legal Specialization, Director of Education, LawPay

As a veteran of nearly 39 years of legal practice, I know the importance of cash flow. In my quest for financial security and success, I have perused every bar journal article, attended numerous practice management CLEs, and varied my approach to billing and collections to see what worked.

Doing good work, of course, has been the overwhelming focus of my practice, and thankfully, I have had very few complaints in that department. But what I have learned about getting the money in the door promptly and securely has proven to be an art.

I am happy to tell you that last year I had a billing collection rate of approximately 97 percent, which is far above the national average for solo-small firms. But with a broad practice, there is no single magic secret to this achievement. It is a combination of excellent communication, billing discipline, and intentional follow up.

Bearing this in mind, here are a few tips I’ve put to work in my practice to help me achieve my collection rate.

First: Learn to interview in a way that will result in client confidence, reasonable expectations, and realistic time frames for completion of your work, as well as a realistic range of fees to get the matter completed.

Second: Always execute a fee agreement. Clients take things that are in writing more seriously than handshakes. Also, you should rarely start work until a promised retainer check clears.

Third: Have billing systems in place that allow you to record time daily and produce comprehensible bills with the necessary details.

Fourth: Diligently record your time each day. You will forget tomorrow what you did yesterday. A reminder hint I use when I can’t remember is to check my outgoing email each day. Your email is a terrific source of clues as to what you worked on during your busy day.

Fifth: Know how to bill accurately and amicably. Use the client’s name: “Telephone call to Robert (rather than “to client”) concerning hearing.” Then review every bill for errors or double billing before putting bills in final form.

Sixth: Send out your bills at least once per month. (I recommend the first business day, after most people have received a paycheck). If you don’t do this, clients believe, “Hmm…they’re obviously so rich they don’t need my money.” Clients hate paying you three or four months after you’ve completed the legal work, so make billing a priority. Sending out late bills is a huge management error.

Seventh: Follow up! When you are doing your bills, and you see client John Doe didn’t pay last month, immediately stop and send him a friendly email reminding him that you have not received payment and offer him the immediacy of an online payment link. This works like a charm!

Eighth: Be modern! Offer to email bills (more and more of my clients only want bills via email), and give your clients easy payment links to a provider, like LawPay. Give your clients a link to a secure payment page, allowing them to pay you from anywhere with an internet connection—even on a cell phone. Additionally, LawPay was designed specifically for the legal industry, guaranteeing complete separation of earned and unearned fees. Supercharge your cash flow by giving your clients an efficient, simple, and online way to pay for your services.

 

 

In Memoriam – August 2019

Tue, 09/10/2019 - 13:50

The State Bar of Texas’ Membership Department was informed in August 2019 of the deaths of these members. We join the officers and directors of the State Bar in expressing our deepest sympathy.

A. Ann Armstrong, 85, of Sacramento, California, died April 14, 2019. She received her law degree from Yale Law School and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1984.
Donald C. Apeland, 86, of Dallas, died July 17, 2019. He received his law degree from Southern Methodist University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1957.
Emerson Banack Jr., 81, of San Antonio, died July 31, 2019. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1965.
Arthur Blanchard, 92, of Dallas, died August 16, 2019. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1954.
William L. Burnett, 75, of Beasley, died November 6, 2018. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1970.
Glenn M. Chaney, 82, of Pearland, died October 31, 2017. He received his law degree from South Texas College of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1964.
Lora R. Clemmons, 66, of Houston, died November 11, 2018. She received her law degree from Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1978.
Benjamin R. Collier, 89, of Dallas, died July 24, 2019. He received his law degree from Southern Methodist University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1956.
Charles Lee Daugherty, 42, of Houston, died June 4, 2019. He received his law degree from the University of Houston Law Center and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 2002.
Dennis M. Dylewski, 71, of Houston, died July 27, 2019. He received his law degree from South Texas College of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1973.
Milton E. Feder, 76, of Houston, died May 20, 2018. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1972.
William C. Fleming, 80, of McKinney, died August 21, 2019. He received his law degree from Michigan State University College of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1992.
Lloyd Stanford Gastwirth, 75, of Dallas, died July 24, 2019. He received his law degree from Syracuse University College of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1982.
A. Gerald Geistweidt, 71, of Mason, died August 13, 2019. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1975.
John W. Hamilton, 73, of Fort Myers, Florida, died August 17, 2019. He received his law degree from Southern Methodist University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1976.
C.M. Hudspeth, 99, of New York, New York, died July 30, 2019. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1946.
Leigh Cornelius Ileson, 58, of Penn Valley, California, died July 27, 2019. She received her law degree from Gonzaga University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1999.
Curtis Jones, 35, of Houston, died September 6, 2018. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 2010.
Suzanne Kaplan, 40, of Odessa, died May 15, 2019. She received her law degree from UC Davis School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 2009.
Sam L. Kelley, 85, of San Antonio, died August 2, 2019. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1960.
Stroud Carter Kelley, 70, of Prague, Czech Republic, died August 6, 2019. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1976.
Jeannette B. Kolbohm, 80, of Houston, died February 2, 2019. She received her law degree from South Texas College of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1976.
Jack Lapin, 88, of Houston, died August 20, 2019. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1955.
Camm C. Lary, 77, of Burnet, died July 25, 2019. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1967.
James Michael Liles, 79, of Fort Worth, died July 28, 2019. He received his law degree from Baylor Law School and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1963.
William C. Martin III, 80, of Longview, died July 14, 2019. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1966.
William R. McCampbell, 90, of Sarasota, Florida, died August 2, 2019. He received his law degree from the University of Michigan Law School and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1980.
Fred J. Moore, 90, of Seguin, died August 11, 2019. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1954.
Billy D. Moye, 89, of Mount Pleasant, died July 13, 2019. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1956.
John D. Ovard, 76, of Dallas, died August 25, 2019. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1968.
Dorothy G. Rea, 97, of Austin, died May 16, 2019. She received her law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1949.
Mona Faye Read, 69, of Houston, died May 25, 2019. She received her law degree from Baylor Law School and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1975.
Paul Landria Smith, 73, of Crossroads, died August 10, 2019. He received his law degree from Texas Tech University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1972.
Richard Stephanow, 76, of Houston, died July 31, 2019. He received his law degree from the University of Houston Law Center and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1967.
Teena Tatom, 61, of Abilene, died July 19, 2019. She received her law degree from Texas Tech University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1989.
Charlotte Tripp, 66, of San Antonio, died April 9, 2019. She received her law degree from St. Mary’s University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1985.
George William Walls Jr., 56, of Houston, died September 22, 2018. He received his law degree from South Texas College of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1997.
Allen B. Walter, 67, of Houston, died July 21, 2019. He received his law degree from the South Texas College of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1982.
Stephen M. Williams, 71, of Katy, died February 17, 2019. He received his law degree from the University of Montana School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1993.
Robert V. Wiser, 78, of Calera, Alabama, died May 14, 2019. He received his law degree from South Texas College of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1980.

If you would like to have a memorial for a loved one published in the Texas Bar Journal, please go to texasbar.com/memorials. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the Texas Bar Journal at 512-427-1701 or toll-free at 800-204-2222, ext. 1701.

Texas Supreme Court Clerk Blake Hawthorne receives award

Mon, 09/09/2019 - 11:00

Blake Hawthorne, court of the clerk for the Texas Supreme Court, will be honored with the Kathleen McCree Lewis Award for Appellate Justice by the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers in April 2020.

Hawthorne is being recognized by the group for his trailblazing work in transforming court records to electronic format, said Houston lawyer Kevin Dubose, treasurer of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, in a press release.

“We have known for years that Blake’s significant contributions to streamlining the Texas Supreme Court’s records have significantly benefited not only lawyers but the public,” said Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan L. Hecht in a press release. “But this award confirms the national reach of what he has done.”

The Kathleen McCree Lewis Award, named for a late past president of the appellate lawyers organization, honors people or groups for exceptional contributions to appellate practice. Recipients may be judges, entire courts, court administrators, law professors, or active or retired lawyers.

The last recipient of the periodic award, given in 2016, was retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy.

The State Bar of Texas Appellate Section and the Texas Supreme Court Historical Society celebrated its Texas Appellate Hall of Fame 2019 inductees during an Advanced Civil Appellate Seminar in Austin on September 5. The award recognizes judges,...

Fri, 09/06/2019 - 15:14

The State Bar of Texas Appellate Section and the Texas Supreme Court Historical Society celebrated its Texas Appellate Hall of Fame 2019 inductees during an Advanced Civil Appellate Seminar in Austin on September 5.  The award recognizes judges, attorneys, and court personnel who have made significant contributions to appellate law and who are no longer living.

The 2019 inductees:

Thomas J. Rusk—The third chief justice of Texas, Thomas Rusk was actually the first to preside over a Supreme Court session and authored its first opinion in 1840. Prior to his life on the bench, Rusk was a signatory to the Texas Declaration of Independence and was also the Texas Republic’s war secretary. He oversaw the burial of Col. James Fannin, who, along with his men, was executed at Goliad under orders from President Gen. Antonio López de Santa Anna. Rusk led the final charge on Santa Anna at San Jacinto.

Hortense Sparks Ward—When Hortense Ward passed the Texas bar exam in 1910—the first woman to do so—she set off a string of firsts. Among those milestones: the first female Texan to be licensed to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court; special chief justice of the temporary all-woman Texas Supreme Court (the first state high court of its kind in the country) of January 1925 in a case involving a trustee of a fraternal order of which the all-male Texas Supreme Court were members; and the country’s first female chief justice after being appointed to the latter by Gov. Pat Neff. The opinion issued (in a cause) has been cited numerous times by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals and Texas appellate courts.

John L. Hill Jr.—As the attorney general of Texas, John Hill argued before the U.S. Supreme Court five times. He served as the Texas Supreme Court chief justice from 1984 until 1988 when he resigned to lead an effort to abolish the popular election of judges in the state. Hill, who also served as the Texas secretary of state, is the only person to have held all three titles. In 1997, he received a lifetime achievement award from his alma mater, the University of Texas School of Law. In 2004, UT Law established in his honor the John L. Hill Trial Advocacy Center.

Austin McCloud—Austin McCloud first joined the Texas judiciary when he was appointed to the 32nd District Court in Sweetwater. In 1970, he was elected chief justice of the 11th Court of Appeals in Eastland. During his time there, McCloud served as president of both the Council of Chief Judges of Courts of Appeals of the United States and the Council of Chief Justices of Texas Courts of Appeals. He retired after 24 years. In 1994, McCloud was named Outstanding Jurist of Texas.

Dallas Bar dedicates 29th Habitat house

Thu, 09/05/2019 - 10:00

The Dallas Bar Association dedicated its 29th house for Habitat for Humanity on August 24. The DBA began building homes for Habitat in 1991 and is the longest running whole-house sponsor in Dallas.

Volunteer attorneys work on the Habitat projects with the central theme being “no commitment of time or money is too small; every hour and every dollar make a difference.”

The DBA Home Project Committee coordinates the build and is led by co-chairs David Fisk, of Kane Russell Coleman Logan, and Michael Bielby Jr., of Vinson & Elkins.

Donors for this year’s project include:
• Platinum Hard Hats ($7,000+): Vinson & Elkins;
• Gold Hard Hats ($6,000-$6,999): Thompson & Knight Foundation;
• Silver Hard Hats ($3,500-$5,999): Baron and Blue Foundation; Drinker Biddle & Reath; Rogge Dunn Group;
• Bronze Hard Hats ($1,750-$3,499): Austin Industries; Clark Hill Strasburger; Cokinos | Young; DBA Bankruptcy & Commercial Law Section; DBA Construction Law Section; Gerstle Minissale Snelson; Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani; Griffith Davidson & Shurtleff; Jackson Walker; John C. Ford Inn of Court; the Kenrich Group; Lewis R. Sifford; McGuire, Craddock & Strother; Munsch Hardt Kopf & Harr; Nixon Jach Hubbard; Peckar & Abramson; Slates Harwell; Strategic Construction; Underwood Law Firm; and Weinstein Radcliff.

For more information about the DBA, go to dallasbar.org. For more about the DBA Home Project Committee’s work with Habitat for Humanity, go to facebook.com/DBAHomeProject.

State Bar of Texas Past President Allan K. DuBois honored

Wed, 09/04/2019 - 09:00

San Antonio attorney and State Bar of Texas Past President Allan K. DuBois will receive the inaugural Community Champion Award from the San Antonio Council on Alcohol and Drug Awareness, or SACADA, on October 31.

DuBois will receive the award during the council’s Red Ribbon Luncheon—which coincides with Red Ribbon Week, a nationwide drug awareness and prevention campaign—at the Omni San Antonio Hotel.

The award recognizes DuBois for his work with SACADA and as a member and officer of its board of directors. DuBois is credited with helping expand the impact of community programs and outreach in his two decades with the council.

“Addressing the value of his board service, he reflected ‘the passion for accomplishing our important mission is continually re-energized by the vision of talented colleagues and dedicated staff. They validate a hopeful truth; that positive outcomes will result from empowering people through education, awareness, and prevention of substance use disorders,’” according to a statement in the luncheon program. “In his personal journey blessed now by long-term recovery, he has experienced the benefits of mentors sharing their personal ‘experience, strength, and hope.’”

With the State Bar of Texas, DuBois has also served as a chairperson and board liaison to the Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program Committee. He also volunteers with the peer group Texas Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers as well as Texas Lawyers for Texas Veterans.

SACADA began in 1957 as simply the San Antonio Council. As a nonprofit organization, SACADA focuses on educating communities on preventing the use, abuse, and addiction to alcohol and other drugs. The council provides information, resources, and services to about 90,000 people in Bexar County and 28 surrounding counties in south central Texas, according to the website.

For more information, go to sacada.org.

TRLA helps residents of South Texas prepare for hurricane season

Wed, 09/04/2019 - 07:47

Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA) is conducting disaster-preparedness sessions for community members in Texas’ flood-prone areas.

The agency has already held a dozen sessions in Spanish and English in cities around the state. The next will take place Sept. 11 in Brownsville and Sept. 18 in Sinton. See below for details.

The sessions cover property insurance, renters’ rights and obligations in a disaster, how to prepare documentation for an effective application for disaster benefits, and clearing title on a home or vehicle. They are funded by a community education grant from the Texas Bar Foundation. TRLA reports more sessions will be scheduled as community organizations request them. Groups interested in scheduling sessions should contact TRLA.  

“We’re grateful to the Texas Bar Foundation for providing the funding to help make this happen,” Tracy Figueroa, coordinator for TRLA’s Disaster Assistance Group , said in a news release about the sessions.

Upcoming training sessions:

  • Brownsville (in Spanish): 9-10:30 a.m., Sept. 11 at Proyecto Juan Diego Programade Familia (IFP), 3910 Paredes Line, Brownsville, TX 78526
  • Sinton (in English): 9-11 a.m., Sept. 18 at First United Methodist Church, 405 W. Sinton St., Sinton, TX 78387

Disaster preparedness tips and links also can be found at texasbar.com/disaster.

Free CLE on depression and suicide offered

Tue, 09/03/2019 - 13:30

TexasBarCLE is offering a free half-hour presentation about the impact of addictions and mental health impairments on the lives of attorneys.

“What Lawyers Need to Know about Depression and Suicide” will be held from 12:30 to 1 p.m. September 10 via live webcast (the video will be available to watch for credit through August 31, 2020). The CLE will include discussions on depression, anxiety, suicide, and other mental health issues among attorneys and law students and how they affect the practice of law.

The training will cover mental health issues that lead to suicide (the third leading cause of death among attorneys), Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 8.03 (reporting professional misconduct), and fitness requirements. Attendees will learn how to recognize signs of some mental health disorders, examine resources and solutions offered by the Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program, and explore specific lawyer-centered suicide prevention training.

Registration is only available online and can be done here.

For more information and resources on mental health, go to tlaphelps.org. The September issue of the Texas Bar Journal also features four articles on lawyer wellness and can be read at texasbar.com/tbj or texasbar.com/digitaltbj.

September must-reads

Fri, 08/30/2019 - 13:30

Check out our editorial staff’s September must-reads for a dive into new laws passed during the 86th Texas Legislature, highlights from this year’s State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting, and a deep dive into mental health issues affecting the practice of law. And don’t forget to read the latest in Movers and Shakers, Memorials, and Disciplinary Actions.

Annual Meeting
Coverage of the 2019 State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting held in Austin in June.
By Justine Carreon, Adam Faderewski, Patricia Busa McConnico, Eric Quitugua, and Amy Starnes

Outside Your Comfort Zone
When it comes to mental health, don’t mind your own business.
By Brian Cuban

Technology and Mental Health
How lawyers are affected by devices and social media and what to do about it.
By Chris Ritter

The 86th Session
Texas attorneys review new laws passed during the 86th Legislature.

Committee to review proposed lawyer advertising rules

Thu, 08/29/2019 - 14:30

The Committee on Disciplinary Rules and Referenda will meet at 10:30 a.m. September 3 at the Texas Law Center in Austin. Among other agenda items, the committee is scheduled to discuss and take possible action on proposed lawyer advertising rules.

Members of the public are welcome to attend in person and can also listen to the meeting using the call-in information below:

  • Call-in: 605-475-5604
  • Passcode: 2870504#

The meeting agenda and other materials are available .

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